Meet The Author – Vol 2

“You’re NOT too old!” If you have something you want to try – start now. That was the one message author Kay Jennings wanted to share loud and clear with our readers. And she should know. After 45 years in corporate communications, Kay decided it was time to stop writing for other people. So, in 2018 at the age of 70, she published her first book, Shallow Waters. It was SO well received that at the age of 71, she published a second one, Midnight Beach. The response was even better this time and the author shows no signs of slowing down.

Speaking with us from her home in Estacada, OR, Kay shared her ordeal of having to evacuate her home for six days during the recent wildfires. “The single most terrifying experience of my life!” When asked if that horrendous scare would have an effect on her writing, the answer was a resounding yes. In the throes of her third book, Kay has been inspired to weave a natural disaster into the story line. Current working title: Code Tsunami. Seems perfect given that her mystery-suspense Port Stirling series is set alongside the Oregon Coast.

What has the author been reading during these pandemic months? “I have 22 books on my nightstand.” A huge fan of British mysteries, the she is obsessed with UK author Elly Griffiths and the Ruth Gallaway series. Also high on her list is the goddess herself, Louise Penny (she’s on Book 14) along with Anne Cleeves whose Shetland Island series inspired Kay’s Port Stirling series. She has just started reading Agent Running in the Field by 94 year old John Le Carre and recently finished and enjoyed Becoming by Michelle Obama.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Willamette Writers and Oregon Writers Colony; Kay is also a master gardener. She enjoys life on her rural property which is complete with ponds, veggie garden and, most especially, her corner office where she writes with a view of it all.

Kay shared that the main thing she misses from the personal bookstore appearances are all the great questions from the audience. SO – we welcome any questions you may have for her. Feel free to email us and we’ll happily compile questions and post the answers for other readers to enjoy as well.

With fond memories of boating on the Swinomish, Kay looks forward to returning to Skagit Valley some day. And we look forward to welcoming her when she does!

In the meantime, we currently have both of Kay’s books in the store (reviews posting here later this week). Stop by to pick up or contact us for free shipping. Note: Always a good idea to call ahead to make sure the books are ready.

Meet the Author – Volume 1

There’s nothing quite like the energy in a bookstore. Whether you are looking for a specific title, reconnecting with a beloved series or just browsing the shelves – there’s always something special in the air. That’s especially true during a ‘Meet the Author’ event. Boy, do we miss our monthly gatherings. So, until we are able to host those once again, we’ll be introducing you to some wonderful Northwest authors via this page. Yay! First up: Meet biologist and award-winning author, Marcy Cottrell Houle. As well as being featured on NPR and national television programs, her work has been published in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest and Nature Conservancy Magazine

Houle-Author-photoTalk about a breath of fresh air! Even over the phone Marcy exudes an inviting, cheerful and positive demeanor. Speaking from her farm on Sauvie Island (just outside of Portland), we chatted about her passion for writing in a style that is both informative and inspiring. From her debut in 1991 with Wings For My Flight: The Peregrine Falcons of Chimney Rock to A Generous Nature: Lives Transformed by Oregon published in 2019; Marcy’s books incorporate a message of hope that overrides all else regardless of how dire or challenging the situation. Whether the subject is the falcons she studied at Chimney Rock or the welfare of her parents so movingly shared in The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Healthcare; the reader can sense the presence of an intelligent, caring individual who’s known heartache and setbacks and yet remains an advocate for a more natural, kinder world. Her newest book, The Gift of Aging: View from the Mountaintop (currently in the final editing stage and due to be published in 2021) promises to be a continuation of the author’s expertise at depicting the human experience with a positive and encouraging lens. When asked what message she’d like to share with our readers, Marcy quoted from Generous Nature: “The power to change the future lies in your heart … what matters is to try.” And what is the author reading during this pandemic time? Frederick Douglass, Brian Doyle’s latest and for “escape and courage” Harry Potter. Gotta love that.

We look forward to welcoming Marcy to La Conner sometime in the future. Meanwhile, connect with her by starting with her first book which is now on our shelves. Thank you, Marcy. Here’s to winged flights of wonder for us all!

Eight That Are Great

imagesAs the experts assemble their lists of the best in literature from 2019, we prepared our own little list of favorites. Here are our top eight title picks for 2019:

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, Rachel Maddow, non-fiction

Testaments, (sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), Margaret Atwood, fiction

Deep River, Karl Marlantes, local historical fiction

Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid, historical fiction

Me: Elton John, autobiography

The Tortoise from Anacortes, Claudia and Bob Hogan, children’s books

Sins of the Fathers, J. A. Jance, local fiction

A Pilgrimage to Eternity, Timothy Egan, history/memoir

Agree? Any misses? We always love hearing from our customers so let us know what you would or wouldn’t include. Call our store or send us a note. Here’s to great new titles to share and explore!

Great Summer Reads

Every season is the right season for good books. There’s something about Summer, however, that invites readers to relish and savor and explore even more. Perhaps it’s the delicious feel of laying a blanket out on the grass and reading away to your heart’s content. Or the fun of finding the perfect romance to read at the beach. And who doesn’t love exploring a cozy bookstore discovered on a summer road trip? Hey wait. We’re a cozy bookstore! That means we’ll be welcoming lots of folks in the next few months and we couldn’t be happier. Our shelves are brimming with books lovingly selected to offer the best in local authors, local lore and local highlights. So, whether you are already familiar with our store and want the perfect books for your stay-cation or you’re on the road and visiting us for the first time; we look forward to helping you find just the right books to satisfy a luscious Summer season of great reads. Safe travels, happy reading and see you soon!

PS: Want a head start? Visit our Choice Reads and Staff Picks page.

Art photo courtesy of The New Yorker Magazine, 2019.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

book-clipart-ribbon-3Despite the line from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the fruit of the month club is not what we’d pick as the gift that keeps on giving. That distinction goes to (drum roll):  BOOKS! Is there any other vehicle that offers discovery, adventure, romance, humor, intrigue and mind boggling fact finding all at your fingertips? In addition, books are portable, affordable, have a long shelf life and definitely able to weather generations of readers. And talk about easy to gift wrap! Our store has the best titles to choose from for every age and interest on your list. In fact, we love what one gentleman said a few weeks ago: “I see you have a book entitled 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. I think you have them all here! Nice collection.”

When in doubt, give a book. You and your giftee will be happy you did.

Doing the Books

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Given the choice, here at Seaport Books we would much rather spend time reading the books than doing the books. If we didn’t pay attention to the numbers, however, we wouldn’t be in business for very long. And we intend to stay around for quite a while. SO, we do the numbers. We watch the numbers. And we even find ways to enjoy being a part of larger numbers. Did you know, for example, that there are more than 45k authors in the US? (That’s up 5k from 2011.) There are over 1M printed books published annually in the US alone – 700k of those self-published. Add to that, an estimated 13M previously published books still available and you have a LOT of books on the market vying for shelf attention. Let’s reel it in a bit. There are 20 publishing houses in the Pacific Northwest. Those publishers represent over 180 authors from the Northwest and approximately 1k new titles each year. Then there are hundreds of Northwest authors who are self-published. All of this leads to the fact that as an indie operation with a small budget, we are diligent about finding the best books for our store and our customers. Specializing in NW topics and writers has proven to be the right choice. As we eyeball our weekly sales records, we can see the proof. Our NW category continually takes the lead in book sales and we couldn’t be happier. Hosting monthly Meet the Author evenings and book clubs, talking with indie publishers, working with local distributors … lots of time and energy spent on doing the best we can to put the best books in your hands. And that adds up to a win-win in anyone’s book!